NC IDEA has expanded its long-standing NC IDEA SEED grant program by introducing a Micro-Grant Pilot Program to award micro-grants to deserving companies not yet positioned for our traditional $50K seed grants.

Program Details

The NC IDEA SEED Micro-Grant Pilot Program awards project-based, micro-grants in the amount of $1K – $10K to young companies looking to validate and advance their idea; or if further along, validate scalability where a small amount of funding would make a significant impact. Grant recipients also receive mentorship and assistance from NC IDEA, as well as access to our wide network of advisors, partners and investors.

The NC IDEA SEED Micro-Grant Pilot Program grant opportunity is currently closed.

Micro-Grant Pilot Program Important Dates & Deadlines

Micro-Grant Pilot Program Application Opens
Monday, April 9th

GREENSBORO Micro-Grant Pilot Program Info Session @ co//ab
Friday, April 13th at 1:30pm

CHAPEL HILL Micro-Grant Pilot Program Info Session @ Launch Chapel Hill
Tuesday, April 17th at 12:00pm

WILMINGTON Micro-Grant Pilot Program Info Session @ UNCW CIE
Monday, April 23rd at 5:30pm

GREENVILLE Micro-Grant Pilot Program Info Session @ ECU
Tuesday, April 24th at 5:30pm

RESEARCH TRIANGLE Micro-Grant Pilot Program Info Session @ 1 Million Cups
Wednesday, April 25th at 9:00am

WEBINAR: Micro-Grant Pilot Program Info Session
Thursday, April 26th at 1:30pm
Listen to Recorded Webinar

Micro-Grant Pilot Program Application Submission Deadline
Monday, May 14th at 5:00pm EST
No applications accepted after deadline

Micro-Grant Pilot Program Finalists Selected
Thursday, May 31st

Micro-Grant Pilot Program Grant Recipients Selected
Friday, June 15th

Micro-Grant Pilot Program Project Execution
July 1 – October 1

Check back regularly for updated information. 


Eligibility Criteria

Our evaluation process is extremely competitive and created for ambitious entrepreneurs to accomplish specific objectives. Companies must meet the following criteria in order to be considered for the NC IDEA SEED Micro-Grant Pilot Program:

Grants are specifically targeted at young ventures based in the State of North Carolina who conduct a majority of corporate operations in the state. Companies existing in North Carolina’s rural and distressed counties are highly encouraged to apply.

Industry and Market Opportunity
NC IDEA provides funding to companies that are bringing an innovative product or business model to the market. We prefer companies addressing large, rapidly growing market opportunities that can demonstrate the scalability and ambition to achieve $1M+ in revenues within 5 years.

Companies with high capital requirements and a long runway to commercialization are less likely to be considered. Other companies that are considered out of scope and not eligible for grant funding include consulting practices or agencies; local, service-oriented small businesses (i.e. restaurants, retail stores); other “lifestyle” companies; and not-for-profits.

Stage of Development
The company’s stage of development will vary; however, the optimal stage is a company with an idea that is actively seeking problem/solution or product/market fit where $1,000-10,000 can make a significant impact. Existing businesses who are seeking to validate scalability are also encouraged to apply.

Applicants who have raised outside capital over $50,000 are less likely to be considered. In addition, NC IDEA does not fund “science projects” that have not yet demonstrated a clear potential path to commercialization.

Competitive applicants should have at least one or more fully committed team members, or have plans for one team member to achieve full-time status within the next 6 months.

Use of Funds
The purpose of this program is to provide funding for specific objectives/activities that will help high-ambition entrepreneurs validate their problem/solution with objective market data. Examples of uses of funds include, but are not limited to:

  • Customer discovery exercises
  • Prototype/MVP development
  • Travel/conference attendance
  • Infrastructure cost
  • Marketing efforts (materials and consultants)
  • Crowdfunding preparation
  • Lead acquisition
  • Modest founder stipend